PHA-L analysis of projections from the supramammillary nucleus in the rat

J Comp Neurol. 1992 Dec 22;326(4):595-622. doi: 10.1002/cne.903260408.


The projections of the supramammillary nucleus (SUM) were examined in the rat by the anterograde anatomical tracer Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHA-L). The majority of labeled fibers from SUM ascended through the forebrain within the medial forebrain bundle. SUM fibers were found to terminate heavily in the hippocampal formation, specifically within the granule cell layer and immediately adjoining molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. In addition, SUM fibers were shown to distribute densely to several structures with strong connections with the hippocampus, namely, the nucleus reunions of the thalamus, the medial and lateral septum, the entorhinal cortex, and the endopiriform nucleus. SUM fibers were also shown to project significantly to several additional subcortical and cortical sites. The subcortical sites were the dorsal raphe nucleus, the midbrain central gray, the fields of Forel/zona incerta, the dorsomedial hypothalamic area, midline/intralaminar nuclei of the thalamus (posterior paraventricular, rhomboid, central medial, intermediodorsal, and mediodorsal), the medial and lateral preoptic areas, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the substantia innominata, the vertical limb of the diagonal band nucleus, and the claustrum. The cortical sites were the occipital, temporal, parietal, and frontal cortices. Some notable differences were observed in projections from the lateral as compared to the medial SUM. For example, fibers originating from the lateral SUM distributed heavily to the hippocampal formation and parts of the cortex, whereas those from the medial SUM projected sparsely to these two regions. The SUM projections to the hippocampal formation and associated structures may serve as the substrate for a SUM involvement in the generation of the theta rhythm of the hippocampus and the gating of information flow through the hippocampal formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Male
  • Mammillary Bodies / physiology*
  • Mesencephalon / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Phytohemagglutinins*
  • Prosencephalon / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants